So That's Why the Teacher Keeps Forgetting My Name.

Richmond Hill High School in Queens is big enough for 1800 students. The only problem is that it has 3600.

These days at Richmond Hill, the first lunch period starts at 8:59 a.m., class sizes routinely exceed city and state averages and students have four minutes to negotiate hallways that one biology teacher at the school likens to clotted arteries.

The classroom trailers, never meant for more than a decade of nonstop use, need new walls, ceilings and plumbing. One social studies teacher, Peter McHugh, was reduced last year to conducting class while holding an umbrella against a leaky roof.

Ah, those external barriers to success are mere trifles.


Gene "G.D." Demby is the founder and editor of PostBourgie. In his day job, he blogs and reports on race and ethnicity for NPR's Code Switch team.
  • GVG

    This was an interesting read. My cousin actually went to Richmond Hill. However, I don’t believe they had trailers back then. I may be mistaken, but it seems like something that would have come up. Anyway, she went to an Ivy for undergrad and is currently in Law School at a top five so I guess at least in her case the education they provided even with the overcrowding wasn’t that bad. I’ll forward this piece to her and see what her opinions are on the matter.

  • GVG

    Just reread what I posted. I hope my last comment didn’t come off as me dismissing the problems for these students when forced to deal with such conditions and the effects these conditions have on the student body, which in turn affects the communities these kids, come from. I believe we are, for the most part, almost all aware of the conditions of these public schools and how the city is forcing these schools to “try to do more with less” instead of giving them the necessary funding to get the job done correctly. We all know how that works out.